Judith Sparkes

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Judith Sparkes

  1. 1. The Power of Personas Harnessing demographic segmentation in employee engagement Judith Sparkes, Suncor Energy Marcus Evans 2nd Internal Branding & Cultural Development October 17, 2011 Background • Suncor Energy • Headquartered in Calgary, Alberta • 13,000 employees in Canada, USA, Europe, Middle East, North Africa • Leading position in oil sands supported by integrated operations • Pro-active advocate of developing Canadian sustainable energy strategy • Focused on: – Operational excellence – Growth1
  2. 2. It’s hard to engage employees in the business if you can’t connect with them.2 Before embarking on a communications plan, it’s vital to understand interests, perspectives and goals of audiences. It’s the only way to connect organizational goals with what’s important to your audiences. Personas can help bridge the gap.3
  3. 3. What are personas? • Archetypes; hypothetical “stand ins” • Description of a fictional person who represents major group of employees • Realistic but not real • Although fictitious: – Based on real employees – Grounded in reality as much as possible Source of example: www.mollystevens.com/images/samplePersona.jpg4 Benefits of personas • Common and shared understanding of audience segments • Engage employees – Test plans and strategies against personas to assess: • Reach • Resonance • Manage communications and HR functions and resources effectively5
  4. 4. How to create personas Research • Invaluable but • Demographic data • Basic demographics rarely provides • Surveys – Age, gender, years of service richness required • Interview business • Job responsibilities and what typical • Provide objective stakeholders who know day looks like criteria – age, the audience well gender etc. • What person likes best about their job • Employee interviews • Teams or people person interacts • Produces averages and focus groups with most • Doesn’t necessarily • How time rich/poor represent segments which actually exist • Goals, attitudes, beliefs • Doesn’t help • Characteristics understand audience • Motivators • Preferences • Other relevant information: – Work environment – Information-seeking habits – Personal and professional goals6 How to create personas Develop • Patterns in • One page • If narrative “too much” attitudes and • Name and photo for your corporate culture behaviours to • Personal details – Minimize amount create clusters but don’t go of personal detail overboard – Give persona a title • Include elements rather than a name that make sense – Write the persona as in your context a list of bullet points rather than a narrative7
  5. 5. Suncor example8 Personas Example of an abbreviated persona9
  6. 6. Personas Example of a detailed persona “I have a computer in the control room, but don’t use it to get to company fluff stuff. My boss tells me all I need to know to get my job done and Sally in the front office always makes sure that us guys get print outs of the info that we really need. I also flip through the newsletter, but only really read something when I know someone in one of the pictures or articles.”10 Practical applications – Example #1 Using personas to test communications tools11
  7. 7. Practical applications – Example #2 Using personas in strategy development “In the Know” initiative • An employee communications program that positions employees to be ambassadors for Suncor and the industry, called “In the Know” • Opportunity to engage employees in “new” Suncor • Company-wide approach complemented by tailored business unit approaches • Example: Refining & Marketing12 Questions?13

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